An innovative Scandi arts project for theatre skills is being rolled out in one of Scotland’s most deprived communities, giving young people the chance to flourish in the creative arts industry, thanks to £16,653 from Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation.
Danish Kultur Crew
The ground-breaking Danish programme Kultur Crew uses the expressive arts to set new challenges for young people and the first Scottish version has been launched in Edinburgh’s Craigmillar district by the charity Lyra.
Lyra has existed in Craigmillar for seven years, with a vision to positively impact lives of children and young people living in the community through delivering a wide-ranging programme of performing arts.
In introducing the Kultur Crew programme to Scotland, Lyra is offering young people, aged 10 upwards, the chance to learn technical theatre, backstage operations, marketing, organising and hosting events. It includes decision-making, in conjunction with the Lyra team, about the professional performances it presents. These behind-the-scenes roles introduce young people to different aspects which are critical to support a show in reaching the stage.
Skills, responsibility and ownership
Anna Plasberg-Hill, projects and engagement manager at Lyra, explained: “The main aim is to give students skills, responsibilities and ownership that develop them as individuals and as a team. Through our work in Craigmillar, we’ve seen how accessing the arts inspires young people and gives them a forum to express themselves. It lifts aspirations, and challenges attitudes that art isn’t for them.
Skills and potential
“With participation in regular performance and theatre skills workshops, we see social skills improve and it has a positive effect on their health and wellbeing. Culture Crew offers a different set of skills to develop young people, giving them ownership of cultural events and working on areas like communication, planning, management, budgeting, teamwork, marketing and technical theatre. It’s creating the potential to enhance opportunities for career pathways as well as giving them a channel to develop a whole range of new skills.”
Front of house, marketing and publicity, hosting, curation of work and public will be among the broad range of skills young people learn from industry professionals, enabling them to have the confidence to host events. As well as a core group of 15 young participants aged between 12 and 18, the programme will connect with the wider community, who will be invited along as audience members and event attendees.
Encouragement and achievement
Anna continued: “We know from the Danish experience that the community seeing their own young people in charge has a huge impact, in terms of encouraging others to participate and in creating a sense a pride from older generations in their achievements.”
Edinburgh may be the financial heart of Scotland, but economic hardship is very real for some city dwellers. Craigmillar is one of Edinburgh’s largest housing estates, and its community has long suffered from the effects of social deprivation, with low economic activity, crime, poor health and low educational achievement.
Lyra was awarded £16,653 from Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation, to deliver the project over a nine-month period and has been working in collaboration with the Danish organisations behind Kultur Crew in devising its own Scottish version.
Kirsty Brownlie, head of charity partnerships for Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “Lyra is a registered charity based in an area of deprivation not far from our office in Edinburgh. We’re pleased to support a project to directly increase the life chances of young people through building skills and offering the most vulnerable young people a forum to express themselves, with a strong focus on education and partnerships.
“It was great we were able to invite Lyra participants to attend a Scottish Ballet performance, tickets which were made available through a corporate sponsorship. We look forward to learning of the self-esteem, creative skills and aspirations blossom in this community.”
Inspiring young people
Since 2012 Lyra has created 14 artworks and performed more than 145 times at home and abroad. There have been over 15,000 participations by young people with around 2000 individuals taking part in a range of artistic events. It works with arts professionals from Scotland and abroad to inspire young people, whilst supporting young people to focus on their cultural engagement.
The Aberdeen Standard Investments Charitable Foundation was established in 2012 to formalise and develop the Group’s charitable giving globally. The Foundation seeks partnerships with smaller charities around the world, where funds can be seen to have a meaningful and measurable impact. It encourages its employees to use their time and skills to support its charitable projects. For more information visit the website.
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